If your medical facility has a waste management contract, it is very important that you know exactly when your contract comes up for renewal, especially if you’re not happy with your current services. If you lose track of it and accidently allow that contract to automatically renew, it very well could end up costing your medical facility a great deal of time, money, and frustration.

Waste management contracts determine who you will be dealing with for all your medical waste removal needs. If you're not happy with that company, the auto-renewal might have a serious and perhaps even detrimental impact on your daily operations. Forgetting when your waste management contract renews can hurt your medical facility in a number of ways.

01   /  Medical Waste Disposal Costs: Your Contract and the Bottom Line

It's relatively common (but avoidable) for a medical facility to not be aware of its contract renewal date. Some healthcare facilities aren't even aware they are in a contract. However, automatic contract renewal can be very costly.

Take the following example. In this scenario, a medical facility needs two to three medical waste boxes full of red bag waste to be picked up every month. (Note that the following sample is for illustrative purposes only, so make sure to check your contract and alternative medical waste management companies for prices specific to you.) Compare the difference in costs between a service agreement and an actual contract for medical waste disposal services. Keep in mind that state and municipal location of facility will also affect costs.

One Month’s cost of Medical Waste Services


Medical waste disposal company offering a service agreement: $100


Medical waste disposal company offering a contract: $200 to $1,000

One Year of Medical Waste Pick-Up


Waste management service agreement: $1,200


Waste management contract: $2,400 to $12,000

Five Years of Medical Waste Pick-Up


Service agreement: $6,000


Contract: $12,000 to $60,000

This is for the exact same disposal services for medical waste! With a contract, though, you're paying one coverall charge a month, which includes many services you might not need or use from month to month. That cost can also include OSHA compliance training. For some medical facilities, a contract is a financially responsible choice, but for many, it just means month after month of overpaying.

02   /   The Legally Binding Contract

If you miss your cancelation window and your contract automatically renews, you and your medical facility are legally obligated to comply with whatever that contract says. In many cases, the only way out is with a hefty buy-out clause, which can be upwards of 50% of the remaining fee on your contract. Simply stating that you didn't know your renewal date had come and gone or that you were unaware that your facility even had a contract is never an excuse. It's still a legally binding document that is not easy to get out of.

03   /   Pitfalls of some Medical Waste Disposal Industry Contracts

When dealing with medical waste disposal companies that offer contracts, you have the potential to deal with a number of pitfalls. These can include:


Increased pricing, even when you're locked into a contract. You will not be able to leave your contract on these grounds.


Contracts that originate with a large company or those that have been bought out can lead to substandard services and lack of quality of customer service.


New rules and regulations are consistently cropping up, especially around hazardous medical waste. It can be frustrating (not to mention time-consuming) to try to maintain contact with a large company and discuss how these changes affect your facility specifically especially if the main office is located in another state – or even one that outsources its customer service contacts to a foreign country.

04   /   Take Personal Responsibility as an Office Manager

If you're in charge of handling any dealings with your medical waste disposal company, not knowing your renewal dates and ending up locked into a lengthy, expensive contract can ultimately fall back on you. Your boss may not be too happy to learn that the facility is locked in to the contract once again until the next renewal date comes up.  

Know the difference between waste management contracts and service agreements. If you are under contact with a waste management company, verify when it expires and mark that date on a calendar, with reminders at least a month or two prior to the automatic renewal. This gives you time to find another waste management company. Not all waste disposal companies have auto-renewable contracts, but it’s your responsibility to know.

Perform due diligence and compare the difference in services and costs between a contract and a service agreement. Service agreements offer more flexibility with your medical waste disposal needs. For example, if you only need to ship one medical waste box that month, you only pay for one medical waste box.

For more information about the potential consequences of letting medical waste management contracts automatically renew, and want to know more details regarding the service contract and a service agreement, call the experts at MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta-based waste management company that serves states throughout the country.

Robert Losurdo

President, COO